PG&E Pleads Guilty to 85 Counts in 2018 Wildfire

Pacific Gas & Electric pleaded guilty on Tuesday to 84 separate counts of involuntary manslaughter and one felony count of unlawfully starting a fire in a case stemming from a horrific 2018 blaze that destroyed much of the town of Paradise in Northern California.

PG&E CEO and President Bill Johnson entered the guilty pleas in Butte County Superior Court one at a time as he watched photographs of each of the victims flash on a screen.

With hands clasped, Johnson rocked back and forth while Judge Michael Deems called out the names of the dead. Each time, Johnson responded in an even voice, saying, “Guilty your honor.”

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St. Louis County Settles $10.25M Lawsuit with Gay Police Officer

St. Louis County Executive Sam Page announced the county settled the discrimination lawsuit with gay police officer, Lieutenant Keith Wildhaber.

Page announced the settlement they reached was for about $10.25 million. “Which is substantially less than the $20 million judgement by the jury. And substantially less than up to $22 million which is what it could have cost us during an 18-month appeal,” Page said Monday in a press conference.

A jury awarded Wildhaber nearly $20 million in his lawsuit that said he was passed over for promotion because he is gay. He even said he was told to “tone down his gayness.”

The settlement will be paid through general revenue which includes sales and property tax funds, Page said.

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Those with criminal backgrounds now have a better chance at a job

The impact of this bipartisan legislation, sponsored by Chairman Cummings, Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.), is monumental. It opens up tens of thousands of federal government and contractor jobs to the more than 70 million Americans with some criminal background. Under current law, federal applicants are required to disclose their criminal history when they submit their application, effectively barring them from a wide breadth of federal jobs. Once President Donald Trump signs the legislation into law as part of the National Defense Authorization Act, applicants will not have to disclose that information until a conditional offer of employment is made.

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Florida Justices Rule ‘Stand Your Ground’ Changes Are Not Retroactive

Changes made two years ago to Florida’s controversial “stand your ground” self-defense law that switched the burden of proof cannot be applied retroactively, the state’s high court ruled Thursday.

The long-anticipated ruling affects several Floridians who face charges after losing their initial “stand your ground” hearings, in which they had to prove they were acting in self-defense when using force.

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Congress agrees on historic deal to fund $25M in gun violence research

Congress has reached a spending agreement that includes $25 million for gun violence research, the first funding in more than 20 years to study a problem that kills 40,000 people annually.

The money will be split evenly between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health. The bill will provide $12.5 million each for the CDC and NIH.

While the allocation is less than the $50 million the House authorized for gun violence and safety research in a budget bill it passed in June, Dr. Mark Rosenberg, who ran the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control in the 1990s, called the funding a gesture of historic proportions.

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7 Convicted in $126M Telemarketing Scheme

A federal jury has found seven people – including three from the Valley region – guilty of conspiracy and mail fraud for participating in a decades-long, $126 million telemarketing scheme targeting thousands of small businesses, agencies and charities.

In the scam, which dates to 1988, telemarketers typically posed as the regular suppliers for the victim companies and told the companies that the price of toner had increased but the customer could still purchase toner at the previous, lower price. Believing that they were dealing with their regular supplier, employees at the victim companies signed order confirmation forms, but the conspiracy would ship toner to victims and send invoices that demanded payment at inflated prices. When the victim companies realized they had been scammed, they called to complain and were informed that they could not cancel the order or refund money because they had signed order confirmation forms.

Gilbert N. Michaels, 77, of West Los Angeles, was identified as the ringleader orchestrating the scheme. Michaels owned and operated IDC Servco, a Culver City-based business that sold toner.

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VA governor really can use the National Guard to enforce gun control

With dozens of Virginia counties declaring themselves Second Amendment sanctuaries, some Democratic lawmakers have said the governor should use the National Guard to enforce future gun control legislation — but can he?

Virginia Democrats, who control the legislature and governorship, have proposed several measures, including an “assault weapons” ban, universal background checks, and a red flag law. In response, 75 counties vowed they will not enforce future gun control legislation. Virginia Democratic Rep. Donald McEachin told the Washington Examiner on Thursday that Gov. Ralph Northam “may have to nationalize the National Guard to enforce the law” if local authorities refuse to do so themselves.

The president, as commander-in-chief of the armed forces, is the only person who can nationalize the Guard, but state governors have the latitude to use it to enforce state law, legal experts said.

Read the source article at Washington Examiner

Former NFL Players Charged With $3.4M Fraud

Federal prosecutors are charging 10 former NFL players accused of defrauding the league’s health care program, resulting in payouts totaling $3.4 million for medical equipment they allegedly never purchased.

Former Washington Redskins running back Clinton Portis is among those accused, along with his former teammates Robert McCune and John Eubanks. The other former players charged are Tamarick Vanover from the Kansas City Chiefs, Ceandris Brown from the Houston Texans, Carlos Rogers from the Washington Redskins, James Butler of the New York Giants, Frederick Bennett of the Houston Texans, Correll Buckhalter of the Philadelphia Eagles, and Etric Pruitt of the Seattle Seahawks.

“Ten former NFL players allegedly committed a brazen, multimillion-dollar fraud on a health care plan meant to help their former teammates and other retired players pay legitimate, out-of-pocket medical expenses,” said Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski. “Today’s indictments underscore that whoever you are, if you loot health care programs to line your own pockets, you will be held accountable by the Department of Justice.”

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Man who tweeted $500 offer to kill ICE agent is acquitted

A man who tweeted an offer to pay $500 to anyone who would kill a federal immigration agent was acquitted Friday by a federal jury in Boston.

Brandon Ziobrowski, 35, was arrested in August 2018 and charged with use of interstate and foreign commerce to transmit a threat to injure another person.

The tweet posted in July 2018 read: “I am broke but I will scrounge and literally give $500 to anyone who kills an ice agent,” referring to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, federal prosecutors said. Ziobrowski had faced up to five years in prison.

“But in this case the defendant posted a tweet that, on its face, offered $500 to anyone who killed a federal agent,” Lelling said. “In 2019, over 100 law enforcement officers died in the line of duty. The public needs to know that, regardless of today’s verdict, we will never hesitate to prosecute apparent threats against law enforcement officers.”

Ziobrowski’s attorney, Derege Demissie, said, “The government turned a tweet that was made in jest — a hyperbolic political statement — into a federal case,” he said.

Read the source article at NBC News

NY doctor convicted of taking kickbacks from opioid maker Insys

A New York doctor was convicted of accepting thousands of dollars in bribes and kickbacks from Insys Therapeutics Inc in exchange for prescribing his patients an addictive fentanyl spray the drug manufacturer produced.

Gordon Freedman was the fourth medical practitioner to face trial on charges stemming from what prosecutors say was a wide-ranging bribery scheme orchestrated by the now-bankrupt drugmaker that helped fuel the U.S. opioid epidemic.

A federal jury in Manhattan found Freedman guilty of conspiring to violate the Anti-Kickback Statute and conspiring to commit honest services wire fraud, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors allege that Chandler, Arizona-based Insys bribed doctors by retaining them to act as speakers at sham events ostensibly meant to educate clinicians about its fentanyl spray, Subsys.

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